Saving Your Sand Dollars

Budget-conscious families should know two things about the tropics: First, Central America and the Caribbean are only a few degrees hotter in summer than in winter. Second, as temperatures rise, resort prices often fall by 15 to 20 percent or more. What's a little humidity in exchange for a great, affordable family trip? We found six of the best spots-from Puer

Jun 1, 2003
Outside Magazine

U.S. Virgin Isles: Bay of plenty, land of sand

Ten elevated, one-room tent cabins—all with porches and hammocks—edge the banks of western Belize's Macal River at Macal River Jungle Camp at Chaa Creek. Swim and canoe in the mellow river, go horseback riding and mountain biking on the jungle trails, and explore the Mayan ruins of Tikal in Guatemala and Xunantunich, a two-and-a-half-hour drive and a half-hour drive away, respectively. Doubles cost an affordable $50 per adult per day year-round (kids under 18 are free), breakfast and dinner included. 011-501-824-2037,
Puerto Rico
On the island's sparsely populated southwest shore, Copamarina Beach Resort is far from commercialized San Juan, in distance and in spirit. Tin-roofed plantation-style buildings house 110 rooms that overlook gardens and a kids' pool. Frolic at the resort's empty three-quarter-mile beach and hike in the adjacent Guánica Commonwealth Forest Reserve, a subtropical dry forest. Doubles start at $164 per person per night—a 15 percent savings over winter rates. Kids under three stay for free, four- to 12-year-olds stay for $50 per night, and 13- to 17-year-olds stay for $95. All meals, drinks, and nonmotorized watersports are included. 800-468-4553,
U.S. Virgin Islands
The Buccaneer Hotel St. Croix is a refurbished 17th-century sugar plantation with 140 rooms and a coral reef just off the beach. At the free Kids' Camp (ages four to 12), little buccaneers spend days beachcombing, fishing, hunting geckos, and hiking the jungle. Meanwhile, adults can snorkel or borrow from a fleet of kayaks and Sunfishes. In the low season, from April through mid-December, doubles start at $215 per night—a 27 percent break from winter rates. Kids under 18 stay free, and a second room is 50 percent off. 800-255-3881,

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